Congress Should Fix the President’s Broken Defense Budget Request

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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding government funding:

“When the Biden Administration put out their budget proposal, Republicans knew it was wrong for the country.

“The Administration wanted to cut funding for our Armed Forces after inflation while massively increasing spending on non-defense.

“Republicans have taken the President’s bizarre position and flipped it on its head.

“The bipartisan government funding bill that Senators Shelby and Leahy have finished negotiating does exactly the opposite of what the Biden Administration first proposed.

“This bill provides a substantial real-dollar increase to the defense baseline… and a substantial real-dollar cut to the non-defense, non-veterans baseline.

“Let me say that again.

“President Biden wanted to cut defense spending and grow liberal domestic spending in real dollars.

“But Congress is rejecting the Biden Administration’s vision and doing the exact opposite.

“This bill will grow defense spending and cut non-defense, non-veterans spending after inflation.

“Just last week, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act on an overwhelming bipartisan basis. Senators on both sides acknowledged that President Biden and his Administration had failed to request the level of resources that our servicemembers and their commanders actually need.

“So on a bipartisan basis, we ignored the Administration’s request and authorized what our Armed Forces need.

“But the landmark investments in upgrading and modernizing our Armed Forces that we just laid out in the NDAA will not happen unless Congress follows through and appropriates the money to pay the bills.

“That’s what Senators Shelby and Leahy have given us the opportunity to do: Make good on our commitments in the NDAA by following through with actual funding.

“Americans want our nation to remain the preeminent global superpower.

“We want our country to remain the mightiest civilization the world has ever seen. We want to keep helping Ukraine, keep out-competing Russia, and keep pace with the huge investments that China is making in their own military and new technologies.

“It’s a strange position, to say the least, when Republicans in Congress have to poke and prod a Democratic Commander-in-Chief into sufficiently funding the men and women that he commands.

“But as I said all along, funding our Armed Forces is a basic governing duty. Republicans were not going to let our Democratic colleagues demand extra left-wing goodies in exchange for doing their job and funding our troops. The President’s own party does not get to take our national defense hostage and demand rewards.

“I am grateful that our Democratic colleagues backed down and accepted our position.

“The bipartisan bill that our colleagues have negotiated equips our Armed Forces with the resources they need while cutting non-defense, non-veterans spending in real dollars.

“This is a strong outcome for Republicans, and much more importantly, it’s the outcome that our nation’s security needs. I want to thank our distinguished colleague Senator Shelby for his hard work and I look forward to reviewing the full text soon.”


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